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Jerod Mayo Press Conference Transcript - 9/29/2011
Q: Defensively, what can you do to play better?
JM: Obviously just getting off the field on third down, reducing penalties and getting more pressure on the quarterback. We have a lot of work to do and hopefully it happens this week.
Q: Is it safe to say that the big plays allowed are a concern? Is there common theme in those? How do you clean those up?
JM: Just have to make plays on the ball. You always have to make plays on the ball. Like you said, big plays have really been killing us. That's one of the main priorities in practice this week - stopping the big play and getting off the field.
Q: Is tackling is a big part of that? Obviously Darren McFadden is a guy that can turn…
JM: McFadden is a great guy with the ball in hands. Tackling him will be an issue. We've been practicing that as well. Hopefully we can do good this week.
Q: How is he different than most running backs?
JM: He's a big guy and he's fast. [He] has a great stiff arm and he can catch the ball out of the backfield - very explosive player. I have a little bit of a history with him. Good player and it will be a challenge for us.
Q: You played him when you were at the University of Tennessee and he was at the University of Arkansas. Are you surprised the Wild Hog or Wildcat offense became such a big thing?
JM: Those guys had a great offense, had a great backfield at Arkansas. They had McFadden, Felix Jones and Peyton Hillis all at the same time. Then it [the Wildcat] came to the NFL and it lasted for a little while. Some teams are still running it, but it's a tough formation to stop.
Q: Did you face him once or twice?
JM: Two times.
Q: What do you remember from those games?
JM: The first time we saw the Wildcat it was pretty difficult - they beat us. When we played them the following year, we beat them. It's all about making adjustments and things like that.
Q: Did you know at the time that you were facing a guy who could be pretty special?
JM: Obviously, he had a great college career. Ever since he came in as a freshman, he was a great running back. Great player and he's very dangerous.
Q: As a captain and leader on defense, how much pressure do you feel when the defense is struggling?
JM: Well, I wouldn't really say pressure. Sometimes you can be disappointed in some of the things that we do, but at the same time, you have to go back and watch the film and make corrections. It's a unit -we're a family on the defensive side of the ball. We just have to get better; we all know that. We're practicing hard.
Q: Is it hard to just stick to the facts in that it's film, progression, facts and mistakes, or do you get emotional and wrapped up?
JM: You kind of have to take emotion out of it. Like I said, we're just all about getting better. It's still early in the season; [we] still have a lot of work to do. I think the guys are working hard to do it.
Q: What is your process like after a tough loss? Does it change from a win, as far as looking at film, getting people together?
JM: I don't really think it changes. I think we have a sense of urgency - we have to get better, fast. At the same time, after a win, there are still things you can take out of the game that you can improve on. There are always things to improve on and that's the mindset we have.
Q: How much better do you think the defense is than the numbers suggest?
JM: I think we have great players on our defense. At the same time, we have to go out and prove it on Sundays. Up to this point, we really haven't done that. The numbers are what they are. We have to go out and try to change those numbers. No matter how good you think you are, the numbers don't lie.
Q: You were in full pads for the first time in weeks at practice yesterday. Was it a pretty intense practice? Was tackling a big part of it?
JM: It was a good practice. I'm sure we'll be in pads once a week anyway. It's not that big of a deal. Like you said, we have to work on our tackling, work on just being aggressive. Oakland is a physical team. They run the ball, so it's another challenge for us.
Q: Has it been a little different with hardly any full-padded practices to practice tackling? Do you guys still do the fundamentals?
JM: We still get it done. Coach Belichick and those guys find a way to work on the fundamentals in practice, with pads or without pads. It's been pretty much the same.
Q: What is your message to your teammates about Darren McFadden's home run ability? How do you express that if he finds a seam, he's gone?
JM: Right, just everybody to the football. We want the backside corner to the ball - we want everyone there. It's all about rallying to the football when a guy like McFadden has the ball. Like I said, he poses a great threat every time he touches the ball.
Q: When a teammate struggles, like Devin McCourty who has admitted he hasn't played like he wants to, how do you approach him as a fellow leader? Do you talk to him? Try to keep his confidence up?
JM: I'm sure he has no problem with confidence. We talk about things all the time. Just like if I'm out there struggling or if he's out there struggling, anyone, we just keep saying ‘Chip at the rock, chip at the rock' and eventually it will break. Just continue to work. He's a hard worker and I have no doubt with Devin.
Q: There's probably nothing like a loss to stoke fans' passion and the heat is a little bit on the defense. Do you hear and feel that as a player?
JM: I don't really pay attention to the media to be honest with you. I don't really watch television that often. But you feel it in the locker room, just that sense of urgency to get better now. I wouldn't say pressure - it's just, now is the time. We have to take it one game at a time and it starts this week.
Q: Can that be a rallying point?
JM: Definitely, definitely. Anytime you come off a loss, it's like ‘Hey, we have to bounce back.' Same thing happened with Cleveland last year. We continued to get better after that and we ran off a good number of games in row. Hopefully that trend continues.